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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When we hatched this idea of a Tech Tips book, I suggested to Andrew that we use Wiki technology for the articles, although, quite honestly, I didn't know much about it.

After doing some reading about Wiki technology, I can't say that I understand it any better than I did before, and I don't know that it brings anything more to the table than writing an article in Word, then saving it as HTML? Can anyone else enlighten me what its advantages are?

Likewise PDF formats are "OK", however I know that some forms of PDF's aren't searchable. Probably these are simply paper articles that have been scanned without any OCR. I think Word docs that are converted to PDF's are searchable aren't they? One requirement we have to keep is that these articles must be searchable from a browser and/or a normal search engine.

What are your thoughts on the above?

Then regarding writing the articles themselves, does someone have experience with setting up document templates? Or are we all even using the same platform to work from? Me, I've been dabbling in Linux for years, but I have to admit when it's time to bang work out, I fire up Windows & MS Office. Is everyone else the same, or do we have some Mac folks?

The alternative to each of us working from a common template and word processor would be that someone (probably Bryce and/or Taz) would be tagged as the team's editors and would have to take "raw" input for each article and turn it into a polished document with all the correct formatting, fonts, etc. to keep things consistent looking. Thoughts on this?

Andrew, I'm sure you went through a similar process when you did the FL Buyers' Guides? What was the outcome there?
 

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John- No problem taking Word documents and formatting them, but I do not have a full copy of Adobe Acrobat, so cannot edit PDF files or create PDF files.

Some scanners have an OCR capability, but they are not particularly good.

KISS principle probably works here.

Taz
Terry Phillips
 

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John,

For the Buyer's Guides and FLQ magazine I used something completely different to make the final PDF. Boxer, William Taylor, others and I would write the documents together in Word, send back and forth via email, then I'd put the text along with photos into InDesign, which is magazine layout software, then export to PDF.

Here is a Wiki in one sentence:
- A document/page online that anyone can edit, that tracks the changes over time so you can see what it looked like at any given point in time after a change.

The Wiki really only makes sense if you are going to update the document overtime and allow edits from others while you are building it. Of course, if you don't like the edits, you reverse them back to previous version, hence the tracking changes. Best example:
Maranello - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

On that page you'll see "Edit" top right. Anyone with knowledge of Maranello can contribute their knowledge at will and at anytime. You can then view all the history of changes:
Revision history of Maranello - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I have a few questions that can potentially help steer things in the right direction so we can figure out the right technology for you:

1. Do you want to include detailed photos with the tech document?

2. Do you want users to be able to print it out so they can read it when they are sitting, or on a plane etc

3. Do you want to publish/push content in chunks?... i.e. a chapter here a chapter there throughout the year. Or in one fell swoop?... ie bam, here is a 100 page document of the 575 out of nowhere (for those not knowing it's coming).

My gut tells me you want a private Wiki, and then to push it to a public PDF so users can't change it. Everyone here could see and edit 1 central file without emailing back and forth and the changes will be tracked. I'll let you answer the above, and if you wanted the PDF like the Buyer's Guide, then the private Wiki would be the starting point and we'd have to that text and add photos to it to layout pages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Taz, thanks; yes, I agree KISS is the way to go. Being a hardheaded engineer, I sometimes lose track of that and go for the most technically elegant solution, but it's hard to beat "simple and proven". BTW, I have a full version of Adobe Acrobat I'd be happy to let you borrow, but it's the older v6.0, and in French. Works equally well converting French or English docs, but all the menus are in French :(

Andrew to answer your questions:

1. Yes, detailed photos, illustrations, and possibly audio/video clips will be an integral part of the content.

2. Also yes. The articles should be printable and portable, however I'm not saying that means they must be in "portable document format" :)

3. I envision we'll be publishing in chunks. First we need to get the organisation of the "book" established, then we'll start filling it with content and can go "live" at that point. I think it would be premature to put the TOC out there without any articles, so we'll probably hold off until we have at least one article finished, and we can demonstrate something to yourself and the membership.

I like the idea of being able to collaborate on a common document online without having to pass it around by email. I think this is what we want to do while we're developing each article, however I'm not convinced the final product(s) should be PDF(s), as I don't think they're fully seachable from a browser or from Google.

Just for example, if we would take one of Dave's developments and do an article on installing a steam vent line on the 550 to help an overheating problem, I would think we (and you) would want this article to pop up if someone does a Google search of the Internet with search terms like "550 Maranello overheating". If we would encapsulate the article in a PDF, I don't think this will happen?

At the moment, I'm leaning toward using HTML webpages for the final "locked" product to ensure this "searchability" will exist. So the next question is, can we easily convert an "open" Wiki that we've been revising and collaborating on into a "locked" .htm page?

Attached is a little bugfix article I wrote back in 2003 for the Supra community. I first wrote it in the attached Word file, then simply saved it as an HTML file, then sent it to the admin of the Supra website, and it now resides online here: MKIV.COM

If you do a Google search of the Internet using "TRAC Off MIL Supra" or other keywords, this article pops up, probably fairly high on your first Google page.

This is the kind of functionality I think we should have for these articles, so that if someone has a problem with his/her 550/575, and we have a solution in one of these articles, they can find it with a simple Google search and some key words.

So the next steps and questions for Andrew are:

1. Can open Wiki's be converted to static, locked HTML pages when the articles are finished?

2. When you acquired that Wiki package for FL, did a Wiki "word processor" come with it, and can we have access to it?

3. Once we have the right tools and can figure out how to write Wiki's, where and how would we upload them on FL so we can collaborate on them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
John. Let me think about the KISS approach for all the stuff you said and reply after I have some downtime to relax.
No problem.... with the site reorganisation and the other things you've been doing, including helping our little workgroup, you appear to have been rather busy!

Hope everyone is having a good Labor Day weekend. Dave is probably enjoying some great Merlot by now :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
But they have something even better don't they? Kolbasz sausages and cheap Tuborg!
 
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